Friday 30 December 2011

A little christmas surprise

It can be bit boring at this time of year for the UK spiky obsessed, the plants have slowed down, most are tucked up for winter.  About the only bit of excitement is the odd aloe or echeveria flower and these can be painfully slow. So you can imagine my excitement looking around the pots to find this:

Yes a pup on my prized aloe viper. It is a lovely plant I wanted from the time I first saw a photo on-line. Having finally tracked one down this summer, I have watched it grow wondering how it would do in the UK (some varieties of aloes and agaves just don't do well with our lower light levels). The pup is a promising sign, although it has lost some of the red colour.

I am guessing I will be very popular with my other obsessed friends when they see this one.

Wednesday 14 December 2011

As winter arrives

This week we have finally had our first frosts, along with some very blustery storms. Bringing to an end our wonderfully warm start to the winter and starting the period of wondering how the unprotected plants are going to cope.  Already the fluffy plants in the garden like gingers and brugmansias have wilted and need to be cut back.  So far all the succulents are undamaged and it is not until our first -3 that I would expect to see any damage.

I have mentioned before that I have limited space for winter storage, and no space for a proper green house.  Instead I have my little cold frame (posted about here) and a few lucky plants get space in the garden shed.  Sadly the shed can not be totally turned over to plants, it has to store the tools and bikes which limit the space to a few shelves on either side.

The left hand side has two large windows which with the polycarb roof keep it good and light.  These shelves are mainly full of the echeverias and aloes. Even at this time of year there are still a few echeverias flowering which bring some colour inside. 

There are of course one or two agaves mixed in for good measure:

The other side is a bit more closely packed with plants to make the most of the space, again a mix of echeverias, aloes and agaves.

Finally to make the most of the limited the space I have a few hooks in the roof from which I can hang watering trays for more plants.  This was something I saw at a nursery and it works well for limited space.

So that is the tour of my little winter storage shed. Who knows one day I may have the space for a greenhouse until then, it does a very good job of looking after some of more tender plants.

Thursday 8 December 2011

Funny how things work

It's funny how often coincidences happen; my OH was looking at my last post on the green wall and got out her camera and produced these two photos. The first one shows much more clearly the planting pockets.

It seems she was up at Edgeware road station and saw the green wall and took some photos for me.

Strange that we should both come across this wall independently at almost identical times.

Tuesday 6 December 2011

Back again

The last few months have been filled with work trips, which normally I like but do get in the way of looking after my garden. At least at this time of year there is almost nothing I need to be doing apart from watching out for snow. My Latest trip was to Nigeria which was let's just say interesting.  Sadly yet again I was confined to seeing the hotel and airport with a long car drive between the two, so no looking around for plants.

Hopefully I have a break in travel for a bit now amd I'll be back to more regular posts. To start that off a friend sent me a link to some vertical planting on the side of a station in London.  This wall was designed to look only look nice but to see if it can help reduce pollution. 

Image from the Londonist
It seems the planst were selected specifically to capture polutants and it will be monitored for the next 18 months to see what happens. More can be found on the Londonist website. There have been a few initiatives like this in London; to look at the use of vegitation to help reduce pollution. I know this is why the university were very pleased with our courtyard garden.

I look forward to the day when there are green walls and roofs on every street.